T-cell Cytokines in Pregnancy



      Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Immunoallergology and Respiratory Diseases, University of Florence, Italy
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Address reprint requests to Marie-Pierre Piccinni, Dipartimento di Medicina Interna-sezione: Immunoallergologia, Viale Morgagni, 85, Firenze 50134, Italy. E-mail: mppiccinni@hotmail.com


PROBLEM: Immunological mechanisms induced by T cells may play an important role in preimplantation embryo development, in implantation process and in the phenomenon of fetal allograft tolerance.

METHODS: We review existing data on the role of T cells in pregnancy.

RESULTS: The production of LIF, interleukin (IL)-4, IL-10 and M-CSF by the decidual T cells may contribute to the maintenance of pregnancy. T cells are not only confined to the uterus. T cells are also present in cumulus oophorus and are able to produce LIF and IL-4.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings may provide an initial cue in favor of the possibility that different cytokines produced by T cells acting in concert are required to create a suitable microenvironment for the preimplantation embryo development and for the maintenance of pregnancy. T cells could work in parallel with other cells present in the decidua and cumulus suggesting a complex network of hormones, cytokines and cells.